But why so few webpages, devoted to so few artists?
Maybe people just don't care about bass players. That's understandable, I suppose - most of the bands I grew up on let their synth players handle bass, and/or kept the bass parts mind-numbingly simple. But occasionally, someone stands up to show the world how much a great musician can contribute on any instrument, and I guess I just thought this would leave an impression.
To check that theory, I searched for "best guitar player who ever lived" and found two Jimi Hendix links, and two for Stevie Ray Vaughn. Good solid choices, to be sure. But where's Robert Johnson? Eric Clapton? Andres Segovia? Duane Allman? Eddie Van Halen? Jeff Healey? Kenny Wayne Shepherd? Kyle Gass? The Great Kat? Surely they each have their own rabid following, ready to fight to the death anyone who dares dispute their champion's obvious superiority!
Is it possible the fanboys have called a truce, acknowledged that their heroes have all made significant contributions to the world of music, that the individual styles and personalities which put them ahead of everyone else make it impossible by their very nature to directly compare one musician's relative merit to another?
Why, no. Of course not. Something isn't right.
Must be my wording.
"Greatest bass player who ever lived" brings up two pages of links, mostly devoted to Jaco Pastorius. That's a little better. We've got a consensus, at least.
"Greatest guitar player who ever lived" also brings up two pages, and a more diverse list of names, but the popular vote is clearly with Hendrix.
But the numbers still don't add up. Perhaps no one cares about guitar players, either.
"Best singer who ever lived" brings us two pages, and "greatest singer who ever lived" brings us four. So, twice as much interest in singers as guitar players, who are exactly as popular as bass players.
I don't buy that either.
So, after several hours of careful deliberation, there's really only one conclusion I can come to:
This wasn't a very scientific test.
...maybe I'll put up a poll later. =)